Kosovo’s bid to join Interpol failed on Tuesday during a vote at the organization’s annual general assembly, dealing a blow to the country’s efforts to boost recognition of its statehood.
The application for membership by Kosovo was rejected by the INTERPOL General Assembly,” the organization announced from its meeting held in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.
The bid’s failure marks a significant setback for Kosovo – if it had been approved, Kosovo would have been able to request “red notices” from Interpol for arrests of Serbian officials or figures that authorities in Kosovo consider war criminals.
Supported by its ally Russia, Serbia had been lobbying against Kosovo’s entry into Interpol. Serbia does not recognize Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia. The United States and most of the Western states support Kosovo’s statehood.
Serbia’s leaders rejoiced over the outcome. President Aleksandar Vucic held a press conference hailing the vote as a “victory” for Serbia.
“I am proud of our country’s struggle,” he said. “I want to believe that this will be a clear, undoubted message to Europe and the world to understand that things cannot be solved with one-sided pressure.”
Kosovo’s government expressed disappointment, saying in a statement that “Serbia’s wild campaign shows once again its stand against Kosovo and against the idea of normalizing ties.”